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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

New development partners to take over three sites; tower with middle school likely to start next year

B4 (aka 18 Sixth Ave.), looking east along
 Atlantic Ave. (towers over railyard are absent)
In an exclusive fed yesterday to the New York Post's Steve Cuozzo, More than 1K new apartments coming to Barclays Center area, we learn that not only is Greenland Forest City Partners proceeding with B4 (now dubbed 18 Sixth Avenue), the giant tower at the northeast corner of the arena block, it has sold three remaining sites on terra firm to another development partnership.

That should make it easier for the project to meet the 2025 deadline for affordable housing, though the level of affordability of that housing remains unclear. (Of the 15 planned towers, only four have been completed, three of them with affordable housing; 1,468 affordable units remain to be built.)

Note: despite the vague headline, I estimate the total number of apartments at the four sites discussed in this article is closer to 1,800. Also, though the article says the project "was launched 13 years ago by Forest City Ratner," it was actually announced in 2003.

Multiple developers

This new surprise--there's always something--means that 664 Pacific, the tower with a school planned just east of the arena block, might get started early next year, with the long-delayed middle school likely by 2021. It also means that Pacific Park (formerly Atlantic Yards) will in fact be accelerated by the presence of multiple developers.

That multiple developer alternative--at least one that involved unwinding the existing transactions--was in 2014 dismissed by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority overseeing the project, as impractical and ineffective. But when the developer makes the deal, it's apparently OK. (It should be noted that project opponents earlier suggested a multiple-developer alternative as part of the UNITY plan, which addressed only the 8.5-acre Vanderbilt Yard, not the full 22-acre site.)

Greenland Forest City Partners, as of June nearly fully controlled by Greenland USA (with 95% ownership going forward), has sold development leases to not only 664 Pacific (B15) but also 615 Dean (B12) and 595 Dean (B13) on the southeast block, to TF Cornerstone and the Brodsky Organization, two family-owned firms that are expressing a new interest in Brooklyn.

TF Cornerstone focuses on Manhattan, plus Long Island City, and recently built 33 Bond Street in Downtown Brooklyn. Brodsky focuses on Manhattan, but in the last decade has built two towers at City Point.

Expected to start are B4, B15, B3, and B12
New timing

The deals are expected to close at the end of this year, according to the Post. Greenland also reiterated to the Post, as it has stated before, that it would break ground "in early 2019" on B4, next to the arena, and supplied a rendering. It did not, however, discuss the unit mix, including the number of affordable units.

B4, at 511 feet, was long slated to be the second-tallest and second-bulkiest tower, after B1, aka Miss Brooklyn. It would retain that status even if most of the B1 bulk gets moved across the street to Site 5, as is planned. As of August 2014, B4 was to be a mixed building, with 213 condos and 551 rentals, half of them affordable. Condos now are less likely.

The Post reported:
Greenland Forest City Partners executive vice president of development Scott Solish said the decision to sell the three sites resulted from “an organic conversation between ourselves and TF Cornerstone and Brodsky” while Greenland was busy focusing on plans for 18 Sixth Ave., the site immediately east of Barclays Center.
“It wasn’t a planned transaction, but it came to us,” Solish said. “We’re thrilled to partner with two developers that have deep roots in the city and are uniquely qualified to work with us.
No terms were disclosed, so we don't know if it was a fire sale, and/or what affordability was required.

664 Pacific now part affordable, other buildings unclear

Reflecting a change in the 421-a tax law, in which Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park building would no longer all be eligible for the tax break even if the had no affordable units, 664 Pacific, the building including the school, will now be about 30% affordable, Brodsky principal Dean Amro told the Post. That tower, unveiled in December 2015, was once scheduled to be 100% market-rate, and to contain 336 units.

According to the article, another 800 rentals, with the affordability unspecified, would be built at B12 and B13, the two development sites on the southeast block between 100% affordable 535 Carlton and the condo tower 550 Vanderbilt. The latter towers are 298 and 278 units respectively, so the new buildings will be larger.

Jeremy Shell, a principal of TF Cornerstone, said 615 Dean (B12) and 595 Dean (a new designation for B13) will be planned over 12 to 18 months before construction starts. (Would both start at the same time?) They were once supposed to contain 265 and 277 condos each, so the rental units would be smaller.

Meanwhile, the Post noted that "Greenland/Forest City said it’s begun designing a deck over the sunken Long Island Rail Road train yard which runs along the site’s northern edge." Yes, we've known that: the question is when the very large towers at those six sites will be built. After all, they have until 2035.

Big project at Site 5

The other terra firm site, and surely awaiting another big announcement, is Site 5, catercorner to the arena, where a giant two-tower project has been suggested, mainly focusing on office space, but has not yet moved forward.

Whether this is "Brooklyn's booming Barclays Center district" (as the Post put it) remains in question, especially given the Site 5 uncertainties, even if recent plans have been approved for two towers nearby at 80 Flatbush, projected for 2022 and 2025.

But what this new deal means is that Greenland has sold off the three sites with smaller towers, relatively speaking, while keeping control of seven sites with larger towers.

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